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SOURCE: VISHAL KARPE / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

40 Tejas Mk1 and 83 Tejas Mk1A will be powered by American developed F404-GE-IN20 after-burning engines to be followed up with F414-GE-INS6 after-burning engines which will be sourced for 200 Tejas MkII and it is also confirmed now that 40 AMCA Mk1 will also be powered by F414-GE-INS6 after-burning engines till a locally developed after-burning engine is ready for AMCA MkII.

With 360+ jet to be powered by F414/F404 family engines in their lifetime whole fleet will require nearly 1300 engines and its number will only grow if India decides to stick with F414EPE engines for the AMCA MkII also. HAL plans to develop Lead-in fighter training (LIFT) based on trainer variant of the Tejas Mk1 which means more American engines.

In short, IAF will have nearly 360+ jets with American developed F414/F404 family engine which will make up nearly 50% of the future IAF fleet by 2040 without even local production of spares available in India. American engines will not only dominate the Indian fighter fleet even if IAF never inducts any American fighter jet in its arsenal leaving the IAF fleet vulnerable to sanctions and restriction on the supply of spares to India in the event of the fallout of relationships with US Government.

India not to be depended on American developed F414/F404 family engine will need to develop at least two engine variants that can be locally developed with a foreign aero-engine maker. India should strive to develop a de-tuned 100kN thrust class engine based on the 110kN thrust class engine which we plan to develop for the AMCA MkII program in the country.

Tejas MkII and Tejas Mk1A fleet will require 3.5 engine swap for its entire flight worthy life of nearly 40 years so India will neither should upgrade the fleet of Tejas MkII and Tejas Mk1A fleet with the same 110kN thrust class engine we plan to develop for the AMCA MkII program or we can plan to develop a de-tuned variant of the same engine with lower thrust.

Selection of the same 110kN thrust class engine for all three programs will mean that the production rate of the engines will be high and due to the commonality of engine among all three fighter jet fleet, logistics and maintenance of the jets at a base level will also improve considerably. India will require at least 10 years for the new engine to be ready for the production so, in next two to three years, India will need to take a call on development partner it was to choice for the new engine and also invest in the required infrastructure like flying test-bed and multiple rig and ground engine facility for the program to succeed.

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